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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
John Carlson joins Holmgren-era exodus

By Mike Sando

Tight end John Carlson's five-year contract agreement with the Minnesota Vikings leaves Seattle with three remaining draft choices from the Mike Holmgren era.

Carlson
Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Ben Obomanu are the survivors.

The NFC North now outranks the NFC West in players entering the NFL as draft choices under Holmgren: Rob Sims and Lawrence Jackson in Detroit, Mansfield Wrotto and Chris Spencer in Chicago, and now Carlson in Minnesota.

Seattle drafted all of those players when Tim Ruskell was making the Seahawks' personnel decisions as the general manager. Carlson was the one Holmgren was most responsible for drafting. He pushed hard for Carlson because he badly wanted a versatile tight end for his offense.

Carlson set a franchise single-season receiving record with 55 catches as a rookie in 2008. Injuries, quarterback issues, roster atrophy and coaching turnover affected Carlson and the offense in subsequent seasons.

The Seahawks' current leadership was not opposed to bringing back Carlson, but the team's decision to pay $6.8 million per season to Zach Miller last offseason redefined where Carlson stood on the roster. There was less room for Carlson to become the player Holmgren envisioned when Seattle made Carlson a second-round draft choice.